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18.04.2004 General News

Navy urges Fisheries to find lasting solution to unorthodox fishing

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Tema, April 18, GNA -- The Navy, at the week-end called on all stakeholders in the fishing industry to find a lasting solution to the problem of using light and other chemicals for fishing expedition in order to protect the industry from collapse.

The Navy has noted with concern that the usage of illegal method for fishing tended to deplete the fishery resources, which would be difficult to re-stock Ghana's territorial waters, Commander Bethel Fosuhene Asante, Commanding Officer of the Easter Naval Command (Naval Base) made the call at Tema.

He was addressing representatives of stakeholders in the fishing industry at a seminar aimed at educating them on the harmful effects to the economy for using unorthodox method for fishing.

The two-day seminar was organised by the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement (CSRM) a Tema based non-governmental organisation on the environment.

He spoke on the theme: "Protecting the marine resource for posterity" and tackled issues like the light fishing and the role of Ghana Navy in protecting the marine environment".

All the fishing societies think that the method they have been adopting is profitable to them because they catch more fish during expedition, ignorant of the fact that they are gradually depleting the stock for posterity, which would have negative impact on the economy.

While the fishing trawlers, popularly known as the "lagay lagay" at the Fishing harbour insist on using light for fishing the canoe fishermen see it as sabotage as the practice drive the fish deep sea, thus leaving them without enough catch.

This confusion has continued and the Fisheries Ministry was compel to ban the use of lighting fishing since February this year and when it was repeated that the ban was still in force at the seminar the representatives of the inshore fisheries walked out from the programme in anger.

Commander Asante said the Navy would continue to enforce the laws by arresting fisher folks who flout the ban but warned that fines imposed on them were not deterrent enough.

"There is therefore the need to make them more stiff, severe and to deter and make disobedience more costly", and called for sincerity and commitment on the part of stakeholders to ensure that they help to preserve the resource.

To ensure that the fisher folks comply with the regulations on the ban, the Commander suggested intensive education be carried out for the practitioners to understand the dangers of unorthodox methods in fishing.

He also stressed the need for the Fisheries Department and the Police to carry out random checks on vessels before sailing for fishing expedition to impound portable generators, which they suspect could be used for the purpose.

Mr Richster Nii Armah Amarfio, Executive Secretary of the CSRM said the NGO would continue with its campaign to ensure that the environment, including the seas is protected in order to keep people in business for the growth of the economy.

Some of the participants however, thought that the seminar failed to achieve its desired results because of the walk-out of the representatives of the inshore fisheries, who are the main characters involved in the matter.

Participants were drawn from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, EPA, Department of Oceanography/Fisheries of the University of Ghana, Tema Municipal Assembly, NAFAG, Marine Research Institute Tema Traditional Council, fishmongers and representatives from the fisheries associations.

Meanwhile, canoe fishermen had issued a warning to clash with fishermen who adopted lighting fishing on the high seas. 18 April 04